Darkinjung Barker is situated in the picturesque Yarramalong Valley. Many of our staff and community members have already travelled the 50 minutes from the Hornsby campus to our little piece of paradise. If you haven’t had the opportunity I’d strongly recommend it – there is something magical and grounding about ‘The Valley.’
One of the early struggles has been educating children, in one class, with an age range of five to 11. I have been thoroughly impressed by the understanding and dedication of our 25 children and their families.
We also welcome four new members to the staff of Darkinjung Barker. Miss Anna Brown, our classroom teacher, has encountered a steep learning curve since starting but has taken to it with an open mind and a complete dedication to the students and our surroundings. Miss Chernita West, our classroom Teachers Aide, is using her time to gain knowledge about the students and assisting Anna and myself with the daily routines in the classroom. We also welcome JD, an elder from Darkinjung. He not only drives one of the buses but shares his stories and knowledge of yesteryear with the staff and students. Finally there’s Ian, who has been employed to drive the other bus and has strong links with the Darkinjung community. Ian also assists our children by sharing his stories and keeping lines of communication open with the parents. The children love their bus drivers.
Our school is surrounded by a mixture of old and new. We have the traditional school house and cottage, with the Nyang Shack nestled in between. This is a brand new multi-purpose room that will predominantly house our younger children for the morning session; it will also be a kitchen and meeting place.
We look out across our field and see a variety of bird life and an abundance of gumtrees, which provide shade while we learn. The outside environment very often becomes our classroom. We are able use a multitude of spaces to educate the children, and we are not limited by any one area.
The recess and lunch period have brought sound back to the once silent school grounds.
Not a day goes past that we don’t have a visitor just pop in to say hello. We have former students, staff, locals and inquisitive, friendly members of the community all excited that our new school has returned a sense of joy to the valley.